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DekeSharon's picture

Zhinga-zweee-BHOM!

This column is a response to a reader email, requesting I give him some suggestions about his arrangement. Whereas I cant legally post the arrangement here on casa.org for copyright reasons, all you need to know to understand my response is that the arrangement is of Ben Folds song Army and that the arrangement was very solid, but contained only notes: no text or other markings.

DekeSharon's picture

Star Spangled Harmonies

Some columns will tackle new topics; others will focus on a question. This is the latter sort, sent in by Roger: ----- When I arranged "The Star Spangled Banner", I did it essentially by ear, fueling my inclination for odd sounding chords. But now that I'm back at school, I decided I would try to apply some the basic theory, so I went through the song to try to identify all of my chords, giving myself a sizeable headache in the process. Looking at my chords (below), are they fundamentally responsible for making my arrangement sound weird, rather than interesting? Or would it likely instead be due to the inversions I used (the bass is rarely on the root)? Below is a guitar tab I found online, and then I inserted what I thought my chords were. Some of them were just so weird I didn't know what they might be called.

DekeSharon's picture

Willkommen, Bienvenue...

Welcome to the first installment of "Adventures in A Cappella Arranging," the new and hopefully improved "Arranger's Corner," which was featured in The CAN (The Contemporary A cappella News, CASA's official news magazine) through most of the 1990s. I'll be your host, as we explore the backwaters of a cappella arranging, one issue at a time. Then, if we get back before sunset, I'll pull off my mukluks and answer some reader letters. (Feel free to email me at deke@casa.org.) Before I start, I should make one thing very clear: although I'll do my best to give you high-quality, low-risk advice, it should be noted that there's no perfect solution for every situation. Music is art, and as such is reliably messy. Music theory is just that - a theory - and, as we've seen with Newton and Einstein, yesterday's perfect rule can be today's "sometimes, but..."

DekeSharon's picture

Contemporary A Cappella Arranging in 10 Steps

Contemporary a cappella has been around for over a decade, resulting in a dynamic and rhythmic sound and style that makes it different from barbershop, doo wop, close harmony, and other a cappell